I thought I’d write a short post on where we’re at now, and where I want to steer Goblin Camp in the coming months:
Where we are now
The basic mechanics are getting finished, goblins and orcs are able to do a variety of jobs, and combat with melee and ranged weapons, armor and flying have been implemented. A few jobs are still missing, such as digging ditches and building bridges, and some jobs need refining (making drinks should require water from the river, for example), but the more substantial things are pretty much there.
Map generation is still non-existent, unfortunately, and is probably the biggest thing still missing that could be defined as core mechanics.
Where we’re headed
First I want to get the rest of the basics done and thoroughly looked through so that the core works well, and doesn’t randomly crash. I think as we’re getting close to having the basics done it’s a good point to stop developing new things for a moment, and really make sure everything is working well together. After that, I’ll be moving onto actual gameplay.
What a game needs to feel fun is essentially progression, or in other words the feeling of accomplishment. What this will mean for Goblin Camp is having things open up gradually. Instead of having everything available immediately and overwhelming a new player with too many options, there should only be a handful of things to do from the start. As the camp grows, more options become available. Coinciding with this progression would be a steadily rising difficulty curve; as your camp becomes larger the monsters attracted to your population and wealth also become tougher, eventually culminating in armies and heroes invading to destroy the concentration of evil that you have built.
Having a big camp stay interesting also requires more complex interactions between the inhabitants of the settlement. Instead of everyone just milling about in the center I’d like to get them to hang around in different places, fight together, perhaps even build something on their own.
This doesn’t exclude having a sandbox mode where everything is available from the start, because I know that some people really would rather have it that way.
Combat requires better control, it’s a bit too simple right now. Also at some point I want to get more exotic migrants, that I’ve talked about before.
Simply put, I want to give the player more choices, and make sure that the choices aren’t too easy to make.
Z-levels and scope
Z-levels get their own heading, just because I want to make it clear where I stand on this issue. Multiple z-levels ala Dwarf Fortress, ie. having many different height levels, is in my opinion not possible to visualize well with a traditional roguelike engine. Only seeing one at a time is just not good enough, especially with flying creatures, and doing some kind of fading to show several levels still doesn’t solve the problem of underground tunnels/rooms at all. For it to make any sense you need at least an isometric graphics engine, and even better would just be a straight-up 3d engine. But neither of those are what I’m going to do with Goblin Camp. Which brings me to scope. Goblin Camp isn’t meant to be some kind of eternity project where I just add and add and add features until it’s a bloated mess that hardly runs on anything but the newest computers, instead I want to lay down some very definite limits on what I want done and what I’m going to leave for Goblin Camp 2: 3D Strikes Back To The Future.
One of those limits is keeping things to one level. It simplifies things a lot, and I don’t see it as limiting things as much as some people might fear. Adding multiple z-levels now would be a big undertaking anyway, and I rather use that time to add things that add real gameplay (see: fun). My time is really limited as it is, so I want to concentrate on things that I see as really important.
Of course, this being an open source project means that if someone has a genius idea on how to implement z-levels in a good manner, they are more than welcome to do so. And if it turns out to really be a great thing, I’m not going to refuse to merge the changes out of stubbornness.
If you have any comments, questions or whatever, check out the forums (link at the top), twitter (on the right) or irc (#goblincamp on Freenode), or e-mail (gencontain -at- gmail.com)